23 Sep 2010

Kidnap fear prompts PNG activist to call off protest march

3:08 pm on 23 September 2010

A Papua New Guinea activist says a nationwide protest planned for today has been called off in Port Moresby because of an alleged government plot to kidnap the event's organisers.

Noel Anjo says although a permit was obtained for the anti-government protest, the police commissioner warned yesterday that the march could not go ahead.

Mr Anjo says the march, to protest against various government actions including controversial legislation cutting the Ombudsman's power and reducing environmental oversight of major projects, was expected to attract thousands of people.

"We're supposed to go on with the demonstration today. But we...a source from inside, gave us information that there's a trap. The government, some MPs are trying to use criminals and some police force to destabilise the protest and there's also a police unit that's there to kidnap us."

Noel Anjo says the activists still intend to stage the protest during the next few days and are meeting university students this afternoon to decide on the next course of action.